Let Me Explain the Real Reason Why Our Politicians Almost Always Suck

ted-cruz-holding-noseIf there’s one thing both liberals and conservatives can mostly agree on, it’s that our elected officials aren’t very good at their jobs. Heck, who am I kidding, most of them suck. Though we almost always blame the other party’s politicians for the issues with government – rarely our own. When we vote, we’re often essentially choosing the lesser of two evils.

And it’s our own fault.

Sure, we can blame money, lobbyists or other special interest groups all we want. But at the end of the day, we vote for these people.

And when it comes down to our politicians, we make the same mistake time after time after time. We almost always vote for the candidate that tells us what we want to hear rather than what we need to hear.

Think about human nature and how we take advice in the first place. Often times when someone seeks advice, they’re really not looking for advice based on the truth or what they might need to hear. Instead, they’re looking for someone to validate a decision that they’ve already made or a reality they wished were real.

That’s kind of how it works with our politicians. They run countless polls to tell them what their constituents want to hear, then they go out and say they’ll do exactly that – whether they ever intend to do any of it or not. Because, as we all know, if they never fulfill a campaign promise, it’s always the other party’s fault. 

But we’ll never pick a politician that’s a little bit of both worlds, because they’re not going to tell us exactly what we want to hear. We’ll just pick the one who does.

Take myself for instance. I’ve always toyed with the idea of eventually running for office down the road. But I’d never probably be elected, because I wouldn’t pander to one side or the other.

If I were to come out and say that we need to reform our immigration policies to make it more streamlined for immigrants to come here legally, conservatives wouldn’t support me. But then if I followed that by saying that I support laws that would come down on those who still continue to come here illegally, many liberals would turn on me. I’m someone who believes in sensible immigration reform to deal with the illegal immigrants we have now, but I also understand that the United States can’t continue to just allow anyone and everyone who wants to come here to do so without abiding by our laws. I believe the solution, like with most things in life, lies in the middle – where most voters don’t lie.

When it comes to government programs like welfare, I think drastic reforms are needed to ensure that those who need it get it, and rids these programs of those who abuse them. But I think we do that by spending more money to properly staff oversight departments to better curb abuse. That’s where I’d lose conservatives. Spend money? We damn sure know they don’t support spending money on anything but defense. Though by spending this money, and curbing abuse, you’d end up saving money. But we all know “big picture” thinking isn’t something conservatives excel at. I also think we need to invest in real programs that help Americans find jobs to help them get off these programs. Again, another measure that would cost money but ultimately save it in the long-term. But where I’d lose liberals is that I’d support limits on how much people could get, and for how long. At least without meeting certain guidelines that prove (without a doubt) that they’ve done everything they possibly could to get off these programs before hitting these restrictions. Then they could apply for an extension.

And when it comes to guns, a candidate can’t be sensible about those either. Any mention of gun regulations will cost a candidate any support from conservatives. And if a candidate dares to seem even remotely pro-Second Amendment, much of the far-left base will abandon them in droves. With guns a candidate either needs to be against any regulations or for almost all of them. If you’re in the middle, you’ll get almost no support from “the base” in either party. And the base is what you need to win to get elected during primary season.

As a liberal it’s very passé if you come out in support of military action. Just ask President Obama and the liberals who think he’s “no better than Bush” or a “warhawk,” even though he hasn’t started a single war (and continues to avoid going to one with ISIS) in nearly 6 years. When it comes to military strikes, he’s been fairly centrist. And by doing so he’s managed to be a president that liberals think is a war-mongerer and conservatives think is weak on terror. It’s an amazing feat, though it shows how it’s nearly impossible to be a true centrist on anything and get strong support from both sides. I happen to be a centrist when it comes to war. I don’t rule it out, but I think it should only be used when it absolutely has to be.

Do you see where I’m going with this? If there’s a potential candidate like me, someone who is fairly centrist on many issues (at least I think that I am), most voters within each party will simply flock to whatever candidate tells them the most of what they want to hear – even if it’s complete b.s. Especially during primary season when “the base” is often choosing our candidates.

It goes back to the human tendency to seek out what we want to hear rather than what we need to hear. We all tell ourselves that we want honest politicians who represent the American people. But time after time we continue to elect those who simply tell us what we want to hear, then rebel against any candidate who might tell us what we need to hear.

And as long as we keep doing that, our government is never going to change.

Allen Clifton

Allen Clifton is a native Texan who now lives in the Austin area. He has a degree in Political Science from Sam Houston State University. Allen is a co-founder of Forward Progressives and creator of the popular Right Off A Cliff column and Facebook page. Be sure to follow Allen on Twitter and Facebook, and subscribe to his channel on YouTube as well.


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